Independent monitors express serious concerns about the negative impact that COVID 19 restrictions are having on women’s physical and mental health

 

In its 2019-20 annual report Eastwood Park’s Independent Monitoring Board raises serious concerns about the effect that COVID 19 restrictions on social movement and lack of time out of cell are having on prisoners. This is despite staff working hard under difficult circumstances and significant pressure to support prisoners.

The report also highlights the plight of a prisoner with an acquired brain injury who has been continuously segregated at HM Prisons Downview and Eastwood Park for well over 2 years. This effective solitary confinement is due to no secure specialist establishments being available for women whilst one specific unit is provided for men with similar acquired brain injuries and highly complex needs. The Board’s concerns about this inhumane treatment have been brought to the attention of the Minister for Prisons and Probation.

IMB Chair, Arthur Williams, said:

“The Covid 19 pandemic has had a major effect on regimes provided at Eastwood Park. The Governor, officers and staff have worked tirelessly to keep prisoners as safe as possible during this challenging time”.

“Our annual report highlights ongoing accommodation issues. Since finalising this report the board has been advised that major works to provide a long awaited Activities Centre and specialist staff accommodation are due to commence shortly. These buildings will provide badly needed facilities to help with the rehabilitation of prisoners prior to their release”.